PRESIDENT Barack Obama poked fun at the media, his political opponents and himself during a speech at the White House Correspondents' Dinner, joking he was "not the strapping young Muslim socialist that I used to be".
Speaking before the annual black-tie gathering of politicians, journalists and celebrities on Saturday night, Mr Obama mocked Republican soul-searching on how to reach out to minority voters in the wake of the party's defeat in last year's elections.
"Call me self-centred, but I can think of one minority they could start with," said America's first black president as he pointed to himself and urged his political opponents to "think of me as a trial run".
Mr Obama also found time to lampoon his own allies, including the liberal network MSNBC, and pushed back against left-wing critics, suggesting that 'New York Times' columnist Maureen Dowd wanted him to live out "an Aaron Sorkin liberal fantasy".
Mr Obama also joked about his plans for a radical second term, and said he had considered taking tips from his wife, Michelle, to freshen up his appearance and give him "a burst of new energy".
To the delight of the audience, he showed a photo montage of himself with a fringe just like the first lady's.
"I thought this looked pretty good but no bounce," he said.
As is traditional, the president closed with more sombre remarks about the Boston Marathon bombings, praising the 'Boston Globe' for "making sense of events that might at first blush seem beyond our comprehension". (© Daily Telegraph, London)